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La Touche and Co. Dublin

Banknotes of the Irish Private Banks
La Touche and Co. Dublin

1693-1870 merged

Dublin, Ireland mapDavid La Touche and Company

La Touche and Co. - 1 Series known, 11 partnerships recorded

David La Touche, a pillar of private banking in Dublin

One of the earliest banks to be established in Ireland was that of the House of La Touche, established in 1693 [1. Barrow 1975, p.203] in Dublin. It started as an offshoot of a poplin factory, and became one of the most successful Irish private banks [Barrow 1975, p.203]. Unlike one of its early contemporaries, Dillon and Co., which failed in the 1754 crisis during which brought down many of the Dublin banks of the time, La Touche's business weathered all the trials of early Irish banking. Similar to Beresford's Bank in Dublin, La Touche was eventually merged into the Munster Bank in 1870, a newly formed joint stock bank.

The banking business moved to Castle St. in Dublin in 1715 as it expanded with a new deed of partnership which expanded the partnership of La Touche and Kane to include two additional partners, Thomas Howe, and Richard Norton [4. Fraser 1942, p.59].

The bank was a well-run solid institution throughout its existence. It was mainly a Landlord bank and was a banker principally for wealthy landowners. Much of its business was that of remittances to landlords who resided in Dublin or London, and this business increased after the Act of Union in 1801 when more of the Landlords moved to London. The bank became the leading private bank in Dublin. It also made loans secured on stocks and bonds.

David Digues La Touche was a Huguenot who had come over with William of Orange from the Netherlands and fought in the Battle of the Boyne [Fraser, p.57].

When he died in 1745 [7], he was succeeded as lead partner in the bank by his son, David. On the death of this David La Touche in 1785, his son David (the grandson of the original founding David La Touche) took over the bank. This grandson David was the Right Honourable David La Touche, first Governor of the Bank of Ireland, and member of the Irish Privy Council. The La Touche family was well-connected in Anglo-Irish political and banking circles.

From 1758, all the partners in the bank appear to have been members of the La Touche family.

1870 merger of La Touche with the Munster Bank

La Touche’s Bank was taken over by the joint stock Munster Bank in 1870 [Barrow 1975, p. 203]. William Digges La Touche joined Board of Munster Bank on the merger of La Touche with the bank. He was the grandson of William Digges La Touche, who was a grandson of the first David La Touch, founder of the bank. [3. Daly (1945), p. 121]

The Munster Bank failed in July 1885 as a result of irregularities after 21 years in business. It is to be noted that Robert La Touche who sat on the board of the Munster Bank when it failed was one of the few members of the board who was entirely exonerated of any wrong doing [5. Ó Gráda 2001, p. 8] .

Much of the Munster Bank’s assets were acquired in the formation of the Munster and Leinster Bank [Ó Gráda 2001, p. 24] which continued in business up to 1966 when it became part of Allied Irish Banks.

La Touche Bank Note issues

It is not clear when the bank started to issue notes and post bills. La Touche & Co. issued notes for £5 up to 1797, but ceased this note issue when the suspension of cash payments made it impossible to pay its notes on demand in gold. The bank continued to issue post bills to the value of £3 and upwards.

It ceased all paper currency issue around 1820. Perhaps its partners had noticed the inherent weakness of the banking system, but it was more likely that a better return could be made from other aspects of banking than note issue, especially with the Bank of Ireland's expansion of its note issue, rendering private bank issues less necessary.

Examples of banknotes and post bills issued by La Touche are rare.

One Series of notes known for La Touche, others likely

There is one Series known for post bills issued by La Touche and Company, and eleven Types by partnership up to the end of the bank's note issue. Other partnerships also existed after the bank ceased note issue.

Eleven Types recorded by partnership. Others existed.
Type 1. ca1693-1712. David La Touche, merchant, acepted deposits and advanced loans. [Fraser (1942-43)].
Type 2. 1712-1715. La Touche and Kane. [Fraser (1942-43) notes this as Kane and La Touche].
Type 3. 1715-1735. La Touche and Kane. David La Touche, merchant; Thomas Howe, merchant and weaver; Richard Norton, merchant and weaver; Nathaniel Kane, merchant. Partnership registered on 28 Jan 1715, and moved to a new premises in Castle St, Dublin.

Type 4. 1735-1745. David La Touche, Nathaniel Kane (Jr). [10 October 1745 David La Touche died suddenly, aged 73].
Type 5. 1745-1750. David Digges La Touche (ii), Nathaniel Kane (Jr) [David La Touche, son of the founding David La Touche took over].
Type 6. 1750-1757. David Digges La Touche (ii), Nathaniel Kane (Jr), David La Touche (iii).
Type 7. 1757-1785. David Digges La Touche (ii), David La Touche, John La Touche, Peter La Touche. Bank name changed to D La Touche & Sons after Nathaniel Kane retired. From then on only La Touches were partners in the bank.
Type 8. 1785-1787. Rt Hon David La Touche (iii), John La Touche, Peter La Touche. [David La Touche (iii) became Rt Hon David La Touche].
Type 9. 1787-1803. Bank name changed to David La Touche & Co. Rt Hon David La Touche (iii), John La Touche, Peter La Touche, William George Digges La Touche. [William George Digges La Touche joins after made his fortune in East India Company at Basra, Persian Gulf. Died 7 Nov 1803].
Type 10. 1803-1817. Rt Hon David La Touche, George La Touche, John David La Touche, John La Touche, Peter La Touche Jun, and Peter Digges La Touche. [1817 Rt Hon David La Touche (iii) died 1 Aug 1817].
Type 11. 1817-1820. George La Touche, John David La Touche, John La Touche, Peter la Touche Jnr, Peter Digges La Touche (List of partners listed on a cheque).

Denominations recorded: Post bills only. £5; 3 Guineas, 5 Guineas. These have been seen only for Type 10.
Printers: unknown.

La Touche and Company, 5 Pounds post bill
La Touche and Company, 5 Pounds sight post bill, 17 December 1813, payable 7 days after presentation

This note is denominated in Pounds Sterling.

La Touche and Company, 5 Guineas sight post bill
La Touche and Company, 5 Guineas sight post bill, 14 February 1814, payable 7 days after presentation

One of the later issues of the bank. A 'sola' bill is a single individual bill. This post bill is denominated in Guineas and its Irish currency equivalent.

Sight notes, or sight bills are very similar in nature to post bills, in that they promise to pay after a certain period. In the case of the sight note, payment is promised on a certain stated time period after the note is presented for payment. With a post bill, the payment is on demand after the date stated on the bill. Both instruments of payment were intended to guard against robbery.


1. Barrow, G. L. (1975). The Emergence of the Irish Banking System 1820-1845, Gill & Macmillan.
2. Blake, R., Callaway, J. (2009). Papermoney of Ireland, p. 48-49. [Referred to as PMI]
3. Daly, M. (1945). La Touche Bridge to Hoggen Green. Dublin Historical Record, 7(4), 121-133. [Retrieved January 20, 2021].
4. Fraser, A. M. (Dec., 1942 - Feb., 1943). David Digues La Touche, Banker, and a Few of His Descendants. Dublin Historical Record, 5(2), pp. 55-68.
5. Ó Gráda, C. (2001). 'Should the Munster Bank have been saved?', Dept. Economics, University College Dublin, Working Paper Article.
6. Newby, E. (2007). 'The Suspension of Cash Payments as a Monetary Regime', University of St Andrews.
7. Dictionary of Irish Biography, La Touche, David Digues I,
8. Background to the origins of the La Touche banking family.

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